Leicester City cruised past Arsenal 3-0 at the King Power Stadium to strengthen their Europa League hopes while denting the Londoner’s top-four ambitions.
The Foxes started far brighter than their London counterparts, with Unai Emery’s side struggling with the creativity of Leicester’s midfield while having little of the ball themselves.
To make matters worse, the Gunners were down to 10 men after Ainsley Maitland-Niles was sent off for two bookable offences before half-time.
Into the second half, Leicester found plenty of space as Arsenal sat deep and finally got their noses in front after an excellent cross from James Maddison found the head of Youri Tielemans who nodded past Bernd Leno.
With the game still in a little doubt, Jamie Vardy latched on to a long-ball to head home – with the help of the crossbar – to ensure victory for Rodgers’ side. A second Vardy goal ensured a brilliant victory for Leicester City.
The 3-0 win takes Leicester within three points of seventh-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers with just two games to play. Arsenal, meanwhile, sit fifth with Chelsea and Manchester United still to play.
Here are the player ratings as Leicester City smashed three goals past a poor Arsenal side.
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Kasper Schmeichel – 6 – His first real test came via an Alex Iwobi shot which was tamely hit and easily saved. Otherwise, it was largely a quiet afternoon for the goalkeeper who was rarely tested. However, he did turn provider, playing a long ball forward which resulted in Vardy netting for the Foxes.
Ricardo – 6 – One of Leicester’s most impressive players this season in his opening campaign at the King Power Stadium, Ricardo had a relatively simple game down the right side, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette operating predominantly – and poorly – in different areas of the pitch.
Jonny Evans – 7 – A solid performance from a solid player who loves to participate in these types of matches. The former Manchester United defender missed a decent chance from a header in the opening moments after a cleverly worked free-kick.
Harry Maguire – 7 – It seemed that every long ball played forward was won by the centre-back who made sure his heading ability was matched by his accurate passing which constantly started off Leicester attacks.
Ben Chilwell – 7 – Comparing Chilwell to Arsenal left-back Kolasinac, Chilwell certainly looked far more effective, charging up and down the flanks, whipping in a few teasing crosses that had the Gunners backline worried.
Wilfred Ndidi – 6 – Tough and resolute, the midfielder was booked early doors after a naughty challenge on Xhaka. Ndidi had a fantastic header saved from an acrobatic Leno to deny the Nigerian his third goal of the season. A good first half but he was replaced at half-time.
Hamza Choudhury – 8 – Given the opportunity to start his first game under Brenden Rodgers , Choudhury started in fantastic fashion, making sure Arsenal were aware of his presence in the Foxes’ midfield. He only continued to flourish, showing that he was the best defensive midfielder on the pitch.
Marc Albrighton – 7 – The winger worked hard down Leicester’s right-flank, showcasing his ability to push forward but also track back and defend the likes of Iwobi and Kolasinac.
Youri Tielemans – 9 – The loanee has been in great form and alongside Maddison, was lively and always looking to get on the ball in a bid to shoot, pass forward, and break down the Arsenal defence. It was Tielemans who was able to make the breakthrough for his side, latching onto a Maddison cross to expertly header the ball past Leno. Came close to a second with a long-range strike. A man-of-the-match performance.
James Maddison – 8 – Having been one of the best young players in the Premier League this season, Maddison was continuously trying to make something happen, sometimes coming deep to regain possession before surging towards the penalty area. The former Norwich star finally created some magic, producing a great cross that landed perfectly on Tielemans head, ending up in Arsenal’s net.
Jamie Vardy – 8 – The England international got his first sniff on goal as Albrighton played a great ball over the top of the Gunners defence but he couldn’t chip the ball over Leno and on target. He finally managed to get his goal to seal the three points for his side. Racing on to a long ball by Schmeichel, his initial lob hit the crossbar but he managed to head in the rebound to score yet another goal against Arsenal. To mark a beauty of an afternoon for Vardy, he scored in the last minute of the match to seal an emphatic victory for the Foxes and his eighth goal in nine matches against the north London side.
Harvey Barnes – 6 – With Ndidi off, Barnes’ presence suggested that Rodgers was getting his side ready to take advantage of 10-men Arsenal. Did reasonably well.
Bernd Leno – 6 – Produced an almighty save from a Ndidi header to keep his side in the game in the 28th minute. Kept Arsenal in the game for as long as he could with a few good saves, one from a Vardy near-post effort. Could do little about the goals. The only Arsenal player who can hold his head high.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 2 – His first piece of real action saw the full-back booked in an effort to stop a potential Leicester counter-attack in the opening 10 minutes. His miserable afternoon was completed as he was sent off for a second booking after a late challenge on Maddison 10 minutes before half-time. The first challenge was 100 per cent a yellow but perhaps harshly, he was given the second where on another day – or another ref – would determine it differently. However, Maitland-Niles put himself in a position to get sent off and make a tough afternoon for Arsenal even harder.
Sokratis – 5 – With Leicester taking charge of the majority of possession, Sokratis had to work hard to keep Arsenal’s defence in shape, with wave after wave of Foxes attacks. Eventually, his first-half efforts were forgotten and Arsenal fell apart.
Shkodran Mustafi – 4 – Heavily criticised following his calamitous performance in Arsenal 3-2 defeat at home to Crystal Palace, the German centre-back – like most defenders – struggled with the pace of Vardy who regularly looked to break the offside trap. Pushed to right-back following Maitland-Niles’ red card and didn’t exactly flourish there either.
Sead Kolasinac – 4 – The left-back couldn’t handle the efforts of Albrighton and Ricardo who constantly provided ammunition down his flank. Moving forward, Kolasinac looked rushed and rarely had the chance to push forward to support the Arsenal counter, with the Londoners limited in possession.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 3 – Did the former Borussia Dortmund player do anything of significant value against Leicester? Yet again, another match where Mkhitaryan simply didn’t produce any attacking effectiveness and caused further frustrations for the Arsenal faithful.
Lucas Torreira – 5 – Torreira has many qualities as a defensive midfielder but he isn’t a playmaker like Aaron Ramsey or Mesut Ozil, who could have been the player’s to find the gap to feed the Arsenal striking duo. Did his best but the whole team just weren’t good enough.
Granit Xhaka – 4 – Xhaka seemed to struggle to compete with Choudhury, who almost always got to tackles and second balls before the Swiss international. The Gunners needed a strong player to take control in the middle of the park but Xhaka was not that man, not by a long shot.
Alex Iwobi – 3 – Put through on goal, the winger’s weak shot was comfortably saved by the Foxes’ number one. And that was that. He was subbed at half-time. Poor.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 3 – Barely noticeable in the first half, with the talented striker making few runs behind the Foxes’ defence. Nothing to report in the second half either. Didn’t look like a man chasing the ‘Golden Boot’.
Alexandre Lacazette – 4 – The Frenchman missed Arsenal’s first real chance after Iwobi’s cross found him on the penalty spot but he fired high and wide. And that’s that. Subbed.
Laurent Koscielny – 4 – On at half-time to replace the non-existent Iwobi, Koscielny was on to keep the goals out. Leicester scored within 14 minutes of the restart. A long ball from Schmeichel was missed by Koscielny and as a result, Vardy scored. Uninspired.
Matteo Guendouzi – 6 – On with 20 minutes left to play, did nothing.
Eddie Nketiah – 6 – Not long left in the match, the youngster wasn’t involved at all.